It’s 2021! You made it through one of the most disruptive years in our lifetime. And while 2020 was filled with a lot of disappointment and challenges, there are some things I’m really grateful for.
So I wanted to take a few minutes to share those highlights with you from our team here at The Unstuck Group and challenge you to do the same with your team. If there’s ever a time where we need to celebrate what God’s doing and make sure we don’t miss the good things, that time is now.
Join me for a quick overview of:
- Why relevant content is essential for growth
- Key pivots our team made to move our mission forward
- Why celebrating wins as a team is key
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Links & Resources from the Episode
- Designing Your Digital Ministry Strategy
- How to Build a Hybrid Church – An Unstuck Masterclass
- What Should Churches Be Measuring? 4 Questions You Need to Answer First
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Welcome to The Unstuck Church Podcast, where each week we’re exploring what it means to be an unstuck church. Whew. 2020, thankfully it’s over. Most of us have never been so relieved to turn the calendar in our lifetime. 2020 brought unexpected change, unwanted tensions, in an unknown future. But what if there are things you should actually be grateful for over the last year? Today on the podcast, Tony shares from a recent article, reflecting on what he’s grateful for 2020. If you’re new to the podcast, as you listen today and before you even jump in, make sure you subscribe to get the show notes. Each week, you’re going to get one email with the reader conversation guide, access to our podcast resource archive and bonus resources that you’re probably not going to find anywhere else. Go to theunstuckgroup.com/podcast to subscribe. Now, let’s join Tony as he reflects on 2020 and shares a challenge with you.
Given what we’ve experienced in 2020, it kind of feels like I’m on one of those long journeys in the way, way back of my dad’s Chevy Impala station wagon. We’ve been on the road for hours. I’m too young to understand where we’re going and how long it’ll take to get there. And even though the car is still moving and we obviously haven’t arrived, I’m still left asking the only question that seems logical. Are we there yet? That’s what 2020 feels like to me. The road keeps going and going and going. And since this is my first pandemic, there’s a lot of uncertainty about the journey ahead. I don’t understand where we’re going or how long it’s going to take to get there. And just when I think the end may be insight, there’s one more detour. I keep looking at the calendar, hoping 2020 might bring some relief. Are we there yet? That said, it’s usually this time of year that I look back at all that our team has accomplished in the previous 12 months. Typically I share the summary with our team at our annual gathering. We come together from all parts of the country to meet in one spot. Last year, we were together in Phoenix. And by the way, if you ever happen to visit Phoenix, I would strongly encourage you to stop by Culinary Dropout. Our team enjoyed a lot of good food and had some good time at the Culinary Dropout in Phoenix, but that feels like forever ago. This year, our team gathered on Zoom. Welcome to 2020. It was actually a helpful exercise, though, to look back at the previous 12 months. It made me realize that in the midst of the biggest disruption that I’ve experienced, that we’ve experienced, a of good has come out of this season. Let me share some of the highlights that I offered to my team. I hope you’ve noticed, but my team has done a ton of work to create content specific to the challenges churches have been facing throughout the COVID pandemic. The vast majority of that content we, of course, give away for free to equip leaders and help churches get unstuck. What we know, though, is that when we give away quality content that addresses the felt needs of church leaders, more church leaders engage with our content. And by the way, this may sound obvious to you, but it should also challenge you to be more intentional about your church’s content strategy as well. So as a result of that investment, we’ve experienced a number of positive wins. For example, our overall email lists have continued to grow. In fact, they’ve grown by 25% over the last couple of year. The traffic to our websites, which has been surprising to me, has increased by over 40% in the last 12 months. Our podcasts, including this episode that you’re listening to, it continues to take off with more than 30% increase in downloads over the last year. And by the way, there does seem to be more traction for us around our podcast content rather than our written content when it comes to engagement with the people we’re hoping to reach. And you may want to keep that in mind as you’re considering your content strategy as well. All of that, though, has led to the opportunity to provide Unstuck consulting to nearly 100 churches in the last 12 months. That’s right, nearly a hundred churches in the middle of a pandemic. And that included 50 brand new relationships with churches for our team. We love providing resources and creating content to support church leaders. But the real kingdom impact that we’re seeing is happening through these consulting engagements that we have with churches. It’s been so rewarding to serve churches in this way, particularly in the challenging season of ministry that we’re all experiencing. On top of all that, my team has worked hard to make a number of critical pivots. There’s that word that we all despise right now, but they were critical pivots to move our mission forward in 2020. That included, as some examples, creating our new Unstuck Church Staff Online Course. We released an ebook on “The Four Roles a Senior Pastor Can’t Delegate.” We refreshed our vital signs assessment, which feeds the data that we include in our quarterly Unstuck Church Report. And by the way, those vital signs, they have changed because of what we experienced in the last month. Another pivot was the launch of our first quarterly masterclasses, including our last one on expanding our church’s front door with digital strategies. We developed a new strategy to help churches navigate mergers with other congregations. We also designed a new strategic planning process to help churches create their own digital ministry strategies. And finally, we launched a brand new leadership coaching option for church leaders. You may want to consider one or more of those opportunities for your church, but my primary reason for sharing that list is really just to brag on my team. You know all too well the challenges we’ve faced together in 2020, and like you, I have teammates who have been juggling their jobs, recovering from COVID, navigating remote learning with their kids, caring for aging parents, dealing with lockdowns and all the other curveballs that 2020 has thrown us. But through it all, they’ve worked harder than ever to serve you and to serve your churches. And I’m just so proud of my team. If you haven’t already, I challenge you to go back through the same exercise. Look back at the last 12 months. Note everything that God has done through your ministry. Celebrate the good news with your team. And if there’s ever been a time when we need more celebration, this has to be that time. Yes, I’m hopeful that 2021 brings healing in more ways than one. And I’m hopeful “there” will finally arrive. But in the meantime, through all the disruptions we’ve experienced in 2020, I counted a privilege to serve you and to serve your ministries.
Well, thanks for joining us today on the podcast. At The Unstuck Group, we’re working every day with church leaders to help them build healthy churches. If that’s something that we can help you with in the year 2021, we’d love to talk. You can start a conversation by visiting us at theunstuckgroup.com. If this podcast has been helpful for you, we’d love your help in getting the content out farther. You can do that by subscribing on your favorite podcasting platform, giving us a review and telling somebody else about the podcast. Next week, we’re back with another brand new episode. So until then, we hope you have a great week.